Trends and Advice for Cultivating Healthy Independent Schools

Dr. Ari Betof is the president and founder of Organizational Sustainability Consulting, a firm that coaches and advises senior leaders and trustees of independent schools, small colleges, and other organizations in the nonprofit sectors. He recently shared his perspective on trends and advice for independent school financial sustainability from the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) Annual Conference.

Ari Betof highlighted the development of “rapid prototyping” both by NAIS and individual schools.  He also identified meaningful progress in major initiatives in the sector by organizations like Mastery Transcript Consortium.

A second reflection was the continued hesitancy by school leaders to see the challenges in the broader market as being proportionately relevant to their own schools.  He describes this phenomenon as the “seduction of false optimism” and suggests it poses a risk for nonprofit organizations that do not acknowledge the facts of their reality.

The third reflection was the development of new tools that can aid school leaders, but only if they have the time and understanding to use them.

Dr. Ari Betof also offered perspective about how to leverage meaningful takeaways from an intensive conference experience. He concluded the piece by highlighting the contributions of Pearl Rock Kane, who passed away in March 2019. Pearl was the longtime Director of the Klingenstein Center at Columbia University.

Read Dr. Ari Betof’s full article on Medium.







Ari Betof Takes onThe Seduction of False Optimism

Dr. Ari Betof has drawn the attention of leaders across the for-profit and nonprofit sectors for his fresh perspectives since founding Organizational Sustainability Consulting in 2018. His consulting work involves coaching senior leaders in various aspects of institutional effectiveness including: leadership and board relations, organizational savvy, team dynamics, conflict management, financial sustainability, and program assessment. He also helps leadership teams and boards complete mission-critical projects to advance institutional priorities.

Two of the recent articles by Dr. Ari Betof highlight this new perspective. The Seduction of False Optimism addresses the importance of remaining optimistic while avoiding falling prey to being overly positive. Ari Betof writes, “We can’t confront the brutal facts when optimism clouds our vision. Is it surprising that dedicated individuals risk unconsciously looking through rose-coloured lenses? No, but it is also dangerous…Such trappings are neither leadership nor stewardship.”

Dr. Ari Betof followed this well-received article with Escaping the Venus Flytrap: Five Suggestions to Avoid the Seduction of False Optimism. This piece offered practical advice. He wrote, “Remain optimistic. Be resolved. Just also ask yourself if your actions are rooted in the universe of what is possible and plausible.”

Conflict Management Can Lead to Positive Organizational Growth


Conflict Management pic
Conflict Management

Based in Brookline, Massachusetts, Dr. Ari Betof leads Organizational Sustainability Consulting, LLC, as founder and president. Ari Betof provides in-depth coaching to senior executives and boards of trustees on topics ranging from team-building to conflict management.

While some executives strive to keep conflict out of their organizations, experts often point out that, when successfully managed, conflict can be a healthy means of furthering an institution’s growth.

By pinpointing the origins of a conflict, analyzing its context, recognizing divergent viewpoints, and facilitating agreement on common-ground issues, an executive can gain new insights into the dynamics and challenges of his or her organization. Moreover, the resolution to the conflict can help build a stronger strategic infrastructure for the entire team going forward.

Conflicts can stimulate greater productive employee involvement with the organization and spark productive conversations between front-line staff and leadership. Additionally, the successful resolution of a conflict can forge closer ties among staff as they come away from the situation with an increased understanding of new perspectives. In this respect, conflict management becomes a powerful tool for team-building and morale-boosting, as well as creating a thriving culture within an organization.

Ultimately, conflict can produce new ideas that benefit the organization in any sector, as employees and leaders alike feel free to offer honest criticism and suggestions for improvement.